As a fundraiser, I am always looking for low-hanging fruit: the companies and individuals who are already passionate about our cause and could readily back our mission financially. Sometimes it can feel like I’m going back to the same wells repeatedly, and I worry about drying them out before finding a new funding source.
Thankfully, Austin has a new program designed to encourage corporate philanthropy, making it easier for fundraisers to identify businesses interested in folding charitable giving (and volunteerism) into their business models. “Austin Gives” was forged through a partnership between several area heavy-hitters: the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurs Foundation of Central Texas, Austin Community Foundation, the United Way for Greater Austin, Successful Giving, and I Live Here I Give Here.
The premise behind Austin Gives is to develop volunteer work and charitable giving within area businesses, helping them attract and retain employees who want to work for a socially responsible company, while improving the community and strengthening area charities. There is, of course, the added tax advantage to nonprofit donations, and the opportunity to rub elbows with the companies who have already pledged dollars and volunteer hours.
Many area companies have jumped on board, from Seton Healthcare and Ebay, to HEB and Wells Fargo, but Austin Gives isn’t just limited to the large scale corporations. Perhaps the best example of a philanthropic business model comes from local real estate firm Give Realty, who donates 25% of each commission to a nonprofit of the homebuyer’s choice.
It is so exciting to live in a city committed to engagement with charities – between Amplify Austin’s success at individual giving and now Austin Gives working with area businesses, the sky is the limit for Austin philanthropy and I can’t wait to see what’s next!